PHOTOGRAPHY: Protect Yourselves

The advent of digital files has made a profound effect on distribution of professional photographs.

The client needs the images you took for them quickly, so an emailed or downloaded image has become the norm.

But what happens with that image? Who does it go to other than the recipient once they have received it from you?

An art director, or a graphic designer from a third party organisation? Are they going to treat your image, it’s still YOUR image don’t forget, with the respect it deserves?

Are they going to use it, or part of it, again without your copyright permission, that, my friends is now a real possibility.

And what if you as a photographer are somewhat blasé about the your images?

What if you say ‘I’ve been paid for the work, I’ll let it ride’?

Simply, don’t…ever.

What if you don’t protect your images as all in this digital world? Not even with a copyright notice written into the metadata.

You’d be surprised how many museums we deal with don’t even consider copyrighting the images we produce for them, images which will be placed on their website and actually have an invitation for punters to download free of charge.

So what happens then?

Well, there is an strong argument which says that if there is no copyright notice and your image is bouncing around cyberspace, then it is no longer yours, or may as well not be.

Sure you can put a watermark on the front, but people will still steal it, or you could digitally watermark it, but with 50,000 images or more in my portfolio, how can I protect all of these?

Do you really want that for your work? Do you really want others making money from your work with paying you?

Taylor Swift has used this in the past with pro-photographers, let me see the images of me, she said, before you publish and we’ll let you publish the best, the fee for that? We can use them commission free, i.e, the photographer doesn’t get paid.

Now, if I ask Ms Swift to send me the current tracks she’s working on, and if I like them I’ll listen to them without paying her, just exactly what would she say?

Then, there’s Richard Prince, the king of thieves.

Here’s a current headline from his relentless shenanigans:

How Richard Prince Sells Other People’s Instagram Photos for $100,000

Here’s the link

So basically, he trawls the internet, finds an image or YOURS he likes, adds something and sells it as his OWN art.

And he gets away from it mainly because he has earned lots of $100,000 doing this and has the cash to defeat little old you in court.

But now, at last, I have signed up to protect my images, and it’s free up 1000 images.

Now please don’t get me wrong, this is not a sales pitch, it’s just the first time somebody has decided to helps us.

The company is ImageRights International and they do all the hard work  for you. Upload the images, they don’t even have to be high resolution and you can export directly from Lightroom. Once imntialised, the system immediately and continually searches the web for your image, forever.

If it finds one, it alerts you and give you the option to pursue, they assess it’s chance of legal success and then take legal action on your behalf.

Below is a snapshot of my screen, you can see it’s dead simple to use.


…up to 1000, it’s free.

Why wouldn’t you?








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